Presentation Title

Walk in a Mathematician’s Shoes: Important Pedagogical Content Knowledge For Future Middle School Teachers

Presenter Information

Iain Ferguson, IMACSFollow

Start

1-31-2019 1:30 PM

End

1-31-2019 2:45 PM

Short Description

NCTM’s Process Standards state that students need to be able to problem solve, use multiple representations, reason and prove, make connections, and communicate their understandings. Many teacher preparation programs for future middle school teachers fail to adequately address these standards, instead, choosing content that involves little higher order thinking or complex analysis. It’s high time to properly prepare future middle school teachers by giving them experiences in which they perform the behaviors of real mathematicians!

Abstract

Future middle school teachers need to understand the true nature of mathematics and have experiences performing the behaviors of actual mathematicians. Mathematics should not be the only subject where you spend over a decade learning the rules of the game, without ever playing it. What if, in Physical Education, you just spent a decade learning the rules of various sports, but never played them? What if, in Science, there were never any experiments or working through the scientific method firsthand? That would be unacceptable. Why is it acceptable in Mathematics? The answer is that we haven’t prepared our teachers to facilitate playing the game of Mathematics, and it’s difficult to coach a team to victory in a game you’ve never played.

In this session, we detail experiences that give future teachers firsthand experiences with being a mathematician -- the struggles, insights, rewards, abstract reasoning, proof writing, language, and communications...all of the activities of Mathematics that are impossible to learn from the sidelines. The audience will perform the behaviors of a mathematician during this session.

We need to flip people’s switches about the true nature of Mathematics and what the most critical takeaways from a Mathematics class should be. Future teachers need real experiences with Mathematics in order for them to embrace the responsibility of coaching future mathematicians in their classrooms rather than just “rinsing and repeating” what was taught to them. Our nation needs to make Mathematics an engaging and attractive option to its best novel problem solvers. Being able to memorize, regurgitate, and put a box around your answer are not the skills we need of future mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. If we want people who can think for themselves, we need to train teachers to model this behavior and redefine what Mathematics classes look like.

Format

Concurrent Session

Institutional level targeted

Higher Ed

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Jan 31st, 1:30 PM Jan 31st, 2:45 PM

Walk in a Mathematician’s Shoes: Important Pedagogical Content Knowledge For Future Middle School Teachers

Future middle school teachers need to understand the true nature of mathematics and have experiences performing the behaviors of actual mathematicians. Mathematics should not be the only subject where you spend over a decade learning the rules of the game, without ever playing it. What if, in Physical Education, you just spent a decade learning the rules of various sports, but never played them? What if, in Science, there were never any experiments or working through the scientific method firsthand? That would be unacceptable. Why is it acceptable in Mathematics? The answer is that we haven’t prepared our teachers to facilitate playing the game of Mathematics, and it’s difficult to coach a team to victory in a game you’ve never played.

In this session, we detail experiences that give future teachers firsthand experiences with being a mathematician -- the struggles, insights, rewards, abstract reasoning, proof writing, language, and communications...all of the activities of Mathematics that are impossible to learn from the sidelines. The audience will perform the behaviors of a mathematician during this session.

We need to flip people’s switches about the true nature of Mathematics and what the most critical takeaways from a Mathematics class should be. Future teachers need real experiences with Mathematics in order for them to embrace the responsibility of coaching future mathematicians in their classrooms rather than just “rinsing and repeating” what was taught to them. Our nation needs to make Mathematics an engaging and attractive option to its best novel problem solvers. Being able to memorize, regurgitate, and put a box around your answer are not the skills we need of future mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. If we want people who can think for themselves, we need to train teachers to model this behavior and redefine what Mathematics classes look like.